Clipper

The Cap’n might have had an almost divine sense for what would work for his boat. But when it came to the crew, they looked towards him and saw Captain Bligh. The mutiny was in the air. They’d been looking for an hour long Sunday sail. 

The daughter, my wife, led the deputation to the quarter deck. ” Daddy, we’re wet and tired.” The other mutineers, my brother in law and I stood close behind her, nodding in agreement. “We want to turn towards home.” He looked glumly, and I could see his mouth set and the beginning of a “grumble you may, but go you shall” talk coming. You didn’t mutiny on board the Psyche!

Then my wife said, ” Mommy will be mad if we’re late for dinner.”

“Oh.” He said. ” Prepare to come about.”

REO

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Spinney was going to see his new accountant for his tax review. Last year, on his own, Spinney had tried to sell the IRS on a depreciation of the 1932 REO he used as a tractor for hauling boats. After being driven in reverse into the cove, its extensive rebuild should have qualified it as a new equipment item. At least Spinney thought so.<br>The IRS disagreed. It was a shame because the only things original in the darned thing was the frame and a single axle; everything else was new or new used from the junkyard.<br>After having lost the tractor argument, Spinney reflected on the unfairness of the tax code. Massive tax write-offs were given to the Allen yard for the brand new 20-foot launch. They spent huge money on that! But, not cent came the way of a frugal yard owner. His yard workers referred to his tractor as “vintage.” suggesting that Yankee Magazine might be interested in featuring it as the oldest operational tractor in Maine. Or that the Maine Antiques Digest would be interested in advertising it for sale to a collector.<br>I thought that Spinney carried Yankee frugality to the extreme. All the talk of the Great Depression’s <a href="https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/10/15/adversity/">adversity</a&gt; rang a chord with me – I was the child of Depression raised parents. But the workers were tired of taping up extension cords and hoses that were frayed beyond repair. <br>For Spinney, the problem was one of cheapness. But not the way he thought of it.<br>Every other yard charged more per foot for storage and for repairs. The previous accountant had tried to talk him into raising prices. No, Spinney told him. The lower prices attracted customers. But, maintained the accountant, his cash flow was affected, and ultimately his profits reduced. Spinney disagreed and so scraped by every year while Allen’s charged a premium. Spinney lost clients to Allen’s because Allen convinced them that the goods and services he sold were of better quality than Spinney – take a look at the ratty extension cords and hoses, a safety hazard!<br>Spinney, a dedicated deacon in his church, took the old testament injunction to heart: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” So he didn’t mind scrap wood walking off with Bubba as kindling for his wood stove, nor begrudge me a bit of varnish to finish off a project. But he chose to economize in the strangest things, like the 1932 REO tractor and the extension cords. He staunchly maintained that<a href="https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/10/15/ragtag-daily-prompt-thursday-down-the-line/"&gt; down the line</a> his methods would prove to be best.<br>We all laughed at this until the day the film crew showed up. Folklife Films came to town looking to film a documentary on traditional boat building around the coast. Over the next several days, their location specialists visited every yard around. They spent lots of time at Allen’s of course, and the talk at the Harbor Tavern was that they’d be back in a week to start shooting there.<br>Just before the location crew left town, one of their team wandered over to Spinney’s. In about ten minutes, he had the entire crew examining our full setup. They ooohed and aahed over the 1910 planer that we all complained about, and were attentive to our traditional work techniques. They nearly had an orgasmic experience when they saw us using the 19th-century ship’s saw. The antique table saw was affectionately patted and examined. But they saved their true ecstasy for the 1932 REO tractor. It sealed the deal for them; Spinney’s yard was where they wanted to do their documentary. Yes, Allen’s had all the modern do-dads. But Todd Allen looked like the IBM executive he had been before coming home to run the family business. Spinney looked the part of a cranky Down Easter.<br>Spinney was insufferable after this, and made sure that we all understood that his methods had paid off. At the suggestion of the film company, he did replace the worn hoses and extension cords. But that 1932 REO tractor could still be there for all I know.Spinney was going to see his new accountant for his tax review. Last year, on his own, Spinney had tried to sell the IRS on a depreciation of the 1932 REO he used as a tractor for hauling boats. After being driven in reverse into the cove, its extensive rebuild should have qualified it as a new equipment item. At least Spinney thought so.
The IRS disagreed. It was a shame because the only things original in the darned thing was the frame and a single axle; everything else was new or new used from the junkyard.
After having lost the tractor argument, Spinney reflected on the unfairness of the tax code. Massive tax write-offs were given to the Allen yard for the brand new 20-foot launch. They spent huge money on that! But, not cent came the way of a frugal yard owner. His yard workers referred to his tractor as “vintage.” suggesting that Yankee Magazine might be interested in featuring it as the oldest operational tractor in Maine. Or that the Maine Antiques Digest would be interested in advertising it for sale to a collector.
I thought that Spinney carried Yankee frugality to the extreme. All the talk of the Great Depression’s adversity rang a chord with me – I was the child of Depression raised parents. But the workers were tired of taping up extension cords and hoses that were frayed beyond repair.
For Spinney, the problem was one of cheapness. But not the way he thought of it.
Every other yard charged more per foot for storage and for repairs. The previous accountant had tried to talk him into raising prices. No, Spinney told him. The lower prices attracted customers. But, maintained the accountant, his cash flow was affected, and ultimately his profits reduced. Spinney disagreed and so scraped by every year while Allen’s charged a premium. Spinney lost clients to Allen’s because Allen convinced them that the goods and services he sold were of better quality than Spinney – take a look at the ratty extension cords and hoses, a safety hazard!
Spinney, a dedicated deacon in his church, took the old testament injunction to heart: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” So he didn’t mind scrap wood walking off with Bubba as kindling for his wood stove, nor begrudge me a bit of varnish to finish off a project. But he chose to economize in the strangest things, like the 1932 REO tractor and the extension cords. He staunchly maintained that down the line his methods would prove to be best.
We all laughed at this until the day the film crew showed up. Folklife Films came to town looking to film a documentary on traditional boat building around the coast. Over the next several days, their location specialists visited every yard around. They spent lots of time at Allen’s of course, and the talk at the Harbor Tavern was that they’d be back in a week to start shooting there.
Just before the location crew left town, one of their team wandered over to Spinney’s. In about ten minutes, he had the entire crew examining our full setup. They ooohed and aahed over the 1910 planer that we all complained about, and were attentive to our traditional work techniques. They nearly had an orgasmic experience when they saw us using the 19th-century ship’s saw. The antique table saw was affectionately patted and examined. But they saved their true ecstasy for the 1932 REO tractor. It sealed the deal for them; Spinney’s yard was where they wanted to do their documentary. Yes, Allen’s had all the modern do-dads. But Todd Allen looked like the IBM executive he had been before coming home to run the family business. Spinney looked the part of a cranky Down Easter.
Spinney was insufferable after this, and made sure that we all understood that his methods had paid off. At the suggestion of the film company, he did replace the worn hoses and extension cords. But that 1932 REO tractor could still be there for all I know.

Light Air

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><a href="https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/sultry/">Sultry</a&gt; is not the usual term used for days on the coast. The realtors, tourist industry, and boat brokers want you to think about cooling breezes, glorious summer sunsets on the beach, and romantic dinners at outside venues. None of these folks have spent a windless, sun raked day sanding varnish at a boatyard. Now that's sultry.Sultry is not the usual term used for days on the coast. The realtors, tourist industry, and boat brokers want you to think about cooling breezes, glorious summer sunsets on the beach, and romantic dinners at outside venues. None of these folks have spent a windless, sun raked day sanding varnish at a boatyard. Now that’s sultry.

Hot, dry, and no wind. Perfect for the varnisher. I had just finished the Barnaby boat, so Peggy, the yard varnisher, could start. She was very particular, so I took a break in the shade of a sloop hull while she double and triple checked my work. I was low man at Spinney’s boatyard and not quite trusted yet. At last, she gave the nod, and off I was to my next assignment. Another great job; applying bottom paint to another sloop.

Spinney decided that the bottom could wait and called me over. “Wes, can you take Miss Talbot and her friend out on Prism? Her dad’s thinking of buying it, and it’ll be her boat. Let her see how it sails.”

“Sure, boss, but there is barely light air out there. I’m not sure it’ll be much of a sail.” Now, light air is a sailor’s term for air movement of roughly one and a half to three miles per hour. You can’t call it wind, and it’s not even breeze. At best, you ghost along. If it’s not too hot, it can be relaxing.

Spinney, not wanting me to lose him a sale, told me to get going and sail. So it was down to the float to collect Miss Talbot, her friend, and Prism.

Prism was an old one design sloop of about sixteen feet. In the twenties and thirties, dozens of these designs had gotten popped out like toast from a toaster. They had been purchased in the thousands by boating and yacht clubs all over the coast for racing. Many were built, but few remained. Prism was the last of her type around here, making it impossible to sail as part of a class of similar boats. A long string of owners had neglected her, delegating her to entertaining bored “Summer Complaint” teens. In a few years, Prism would be lovingly restored by newly appreciative owners, and have a featured article in one of the boating magazines. But for now, she was a tired old boat that Spinney was trying to dump.

At the float, Miss Talbot was waiting with her friend. I showed them aboard and got ready to shove off the float while assessing their boating knowledge, meager. Taking advantage of the light air to teach them the rudiments of sailing, I soon had one on the tiller and mainsheet, and the other handling the jib sheet. It was “flat” sailing, no heeling, no rush of water beneath the hull, and no wind rushing in your hair. It was just what was ordered to sell the boat. Or so I thought. Miss Talbot grew bored. “Can’t we get this thing to go faster?”

I was interested in going faster as well. Off to the northwest, I could see thunderheads developing, and had no desire to be caught on the water in a sudden blow. I began to teach them light air sailing tricks: dowsing the mainsail with water to create a bit of a belly for catching the wind, and repositioning crew to create a bit of a heel. None of it worked.

All of a sudden, the wind picked up, and I hurried to take advantage of it to get us back to Spinney’s. Not in a panic, yet, but I expected that anytime soon, the wind would back and veer rapidly ( suddenly shift directions), and then we’d be caught in the storm. By now, Prism was sailing as close to the wind as I could get her, and the little sloop was heeled over almost so much that green water was sloshing aboard. All pretension of teaching was now gone as I raced against the storm. Then I noticed that Miss Talbot and friend were shrieking in excitement – “Faster – Faster!” The rain started about a hundred yards off the float, and it was not long before we were all soaked to our skins. I could see Spinney getting the launch prepared to go get us should we capsize. Coming up on the float I killed Prism’s momentum and tossed the mooring line to Spinney. Flopping down onto the boat, I was exhausted. The two excited young women were standing there, shouting, ” Let’s go out again!” Spinney looked me and made a gesture of thumb and fingers of his right hand rubbing together. Sale made. ” Good work Wes, but that was close. Don’t hot dog out there that much next time.”

Some father was going to regret his decision to set these two loose on the Harbor; very soon.

The Pier

It had been a stylish “Little Black Thing” before the total immersion experience. She had been warned stiletto heals didn’t work well with rough planking or irregular cobbles. She insisted. The final stumble happened as I was about to hand her onto the gangway and safely onto the boat.

If recorded in slow motion, it would have appeared cinematic:

  1. the first instability
  2. the tip towards the edge
  3. the balancing wobble 
  4.  the final dive into the water
  5. The extended boat hook angrily shoved aside, and her lurching into the boat.

Ah, I assume this relationship isn’t going to go anywhere.

O’Dark Thirty

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">"I'm awake already." I rollover.“I’m awake already.” I rollover.

Was it ” Mr. wakey wakey” on his rounds for watchstanders? No. 

There were no vibrations of a ship, always alive. Reaching out, I don’t find wooden ceiling planks. I’m not aboard Psyche; I’d feel the movement of water through the hull.

 I know when and where I’m not. It’s not Navy, and it’s not Maine. It’s still O’dark thirty, that’s why I thought back to waking for the mid-watch. Everyone’s favorite, midnight till four AM. There’s a crack of light from the hall outside; I’m home. The blackout curtains my wife insists on creating a bedroom so deep in darkness that its disorienting.

The trouble waking isn’t new. It’s been a feature of my life on and off since college. An assignment in American Literature to read Slaughterhouse Five initiated it. Like Billy Pilgrim, I seem to float between critical points in life. The waking uncertainty went away in grad school. But it had resurfaced with the curtains.

It’s not so much that I’d fear waking in those two times or places. It’s the uncertainty of where else my soul might range that scares me.

Zephyr

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">My workbench is always a mess when I am in the middle of a carving project. But this one was different. It was a small job that I was doing as a favor for Spinney. It only required a few gouges and a knife to finish what the original carver had set out years ago. For about fifty years, the unfinished transom carving had perched in the paint shop's rafters at Spinney's boatyard. Only the last two letters remained uncarved when I removed the half-century of dust. My workbench is always a mess when I am in the middle of a carving project. But this one was different. It was a small job that I was doing as a favor for Spinney. It only required a few gouges and a knife to finish what the original carver had set out years ago. For about fifty years, the unfinished transom carving had perched in the paint shop’s rafters at Spinney’s boatyard. Only the last two letters remained uncarved when I removed the half-century of dust. 

“You know, Spinney. You were a pretty good carver. Maybe you should have kept it up?” ” No offense Wes, but it doesn’t pay enough.” I laughed. If it paid enough, I wouldn’t be helping to haul boats, apply bottom paint, and varnish at a boatyard. “So why after fifty years, are we finishing the carving up?” ” It’s a surprise for a little girl.” He told me. 

 I finished Y and the R, did a bit of clean up sanding, primed the board with thinned marine varnish, and left it to dry. Daily I added another coat of varnish, being careful to leave the incised lettering clean and crisp. After nine coats, it was ready for painting the lettering and the gold leaf. The morning after finishing the gold leaf, it disappeared. I heard nothing more about it for almost a month. Then one day, Spinney invited me to a small relaunching ceremony. 

The little sloop had sat awash in a local cove for years. The summer visitor who had owned it had left it for a fast powerboat. In an act of sheer waste, he had abandoned the sloop. It had sat there gradually deteriorating and getting stripped of all hardware and rigging. Spinney hated waste and was uncommonly capable of seeing hidden value. Spinney was also cheap. He paid pennies for the right to salvage the sloop. We hauled it to the boatyard and gradually restored it. As summer arrived, we finished the rigging and sails.

Even though it was Sunday, the entire crew showed up for the relaunch. Nobody likes an unresolved mystery, and Spinney always held his cards close to his chest. So we knew little that he didn’t want us to know about his business. The sloop fell into that category, and we wanted to know.

The new owners were an older woman, nearly Spinney’s age, and what must be her granddaughter. We overheard snatches of a conversation between the woman and Spinney: ” Maynard, do you think she’s old enough?”, “You and I were at the same age, Nora. And I’ll give her lessons.” the young woman, about thirteen, was already getting ready to undo the mooring line and raise the mainsail. She seemed to know what she was about and wasn’t waiting for lessons. “Uncle Maynard, let’s hurry up. I want to go sailing.” Ah, uncle Maynard, Spinney’s grandniece, and that’d make the older woman Spinney’s long-absent sister Nora who the whole town knew had split from the family for reasons unknown.

” Uncle Maynard, do I start working at the boatyard tomorrow?” With a broad smile, Spinney replied: “Absolutely. You’ll start at the bottom, Wes will teach you how to scrape, sand, and paint boat bottoms.” With this said, Spinney stepped onto the sloop and shoved off the dock.

Zephyr shook out her mainsail and was on the breeze. And I had gained an apprentice.

Mason Jars

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I came highly recommended, both Spinney and the Cap'n had vouched for me. Even so, I was viewed warily by Mr. Allen. He and his wife were famously reclusive, living in an old rundown house not too far out of the Center. Mr. Allen indicated the spades and pitchfork I'd be using, but I still wasn't clear on what I'd be doing. My boss for the afternoon was the sort to whom even how much you took to the dump weekly was a national secret.<br>Taking me into the garden, he indicated that I should start digging a row parallel with the vegetable garden's edge. " A bit late to be planting now, isn't it Mr. Allen?". "Dig carefully; there should be a row of sealed Mason jars about a foot down." I began digging, wondering what it was all about. In a few minutes, my shovel found the first jar, eventually the second and third. Mr. Allen stooped and carried them away before I got much of a look at them. Taking them over to the picnic table, he began to attempt to undo the corrosion of what must have been a substantial time in the ground. The sounds of frustration and disappointment grew louder. I stopped and walked over to the table. Spread out were piles of coins spilling from rotted paper wrappers and decomposed paper notes. On one note, you could still faintly make out "I.O.U – Buster."I came highly recommended, both Spinney and the Cap’n had vouched for me. Even so, I was viewed warily by Mr. Allen. He and his wife were famously reclusive, living in an old rundown house not too far out of the Center. Mr. Allen indicated the spades and pitchfork I’d be using, but I still wasn’t clear on what I’d be doing. My boss for the afternoon was the sort to whom even how much you took to the dump weekly was a national secret.
Taking me into the garden, he indicated that I should start digging a row parallel with the vegetable garden’s edge. ” A bit late to be planting now, isn’t it Mr. Allen?”. “Dig carefully; there should be a row of sealed Mason jars about a foot down.” I began digging, wondering what it was all about. In a few minutes, my shovel found the first jar, eventually the second and third. Mr. Allen stooped and carried them away before I got much of a look at them. Taking them over to the picnic table, he began to attempt to undo the corrosion of what must have been a substantial time in the ground. The sounds of frustration and disappointment grew louder. I stopped and walked over to the table. Spread out were piles of coins spilling from rotted paper wrappers and decomposed paper notes. On one note, you could still faintly make out “I.O.U – Buster.”

Spinney had confided that Asa Allen was probably the last of the mattress stuffers – survivors of the Great Depression who so distrusted banks that they did hide cash in their bedding. In this case, it was hidden in jars a foot down in the garden. The glass jars had survived, but metal bands and tops had corroded. The rotted notes were the surprise: “Who was Buster?” I asked. “My no-good son, he’s been gone to Florida these last ten years.” We continued to dig and retrieved twenty jars with the same result. It turned out that Allen’s desperately needed the money for medical bills. “What are the chances that you can call Buster and get the money?” ” The only thing my son cares about is the bottle of booze he has in his hand.”
With me, that day was Douglas, my wife’s smart, but mildly annoying nephew. To keep him occupied while Mr. Allen and I dug up the remaining jars, Douglas started an inventory of what we were recovering. Mr. Allen was so distracted that he failed to protest Douglas’ handling what had to be the family fortune.
About an hour later, Douglas suddenly started capering around. I told him to shut up; this situation was serious. We desperately hoped that the last few jars on the lined paper map would turn up with Benjamins and Grants intact. Douglas kept on capering about, and we kept on telling him to shut up and go sit down. After about another half hour, we had recovered all the jars, thoroughly plundered.
About then, we noticed that Douglas was excitedly waving a book in front of us and pointing to a pile of silver coins. “You’re Rich, Rich!” he hollered. Asa Allen snatched the book from him, but Douglas grabbed it back to indicate that this particular silver dollar was worth fifty dollars.
Eventually, we began to seriously inventory coins against listings in the book.
Several days later, we piled into the car for a ride to a Boston coin dealer. Allen’s made out OK. There was no great fortune, but the check they received was enough to cover the medical emergency. Douglas received a reward, I had my blisters, and the Allen’s started a savings account.
The Cap’n and Spinney both agreed that Douglas and I made a great team. I don’t know about that.

The Dumps

A warning, this is a trashy story.

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Back in the day, the dump was a sort of special place. You'd take your trash and garbage to the dump Saturday. Everyone else in town would be doing the same thing. You'd socialize, and of course, you might selectively "pick" for items you might find a second home for.<br>Who can forget driving to the dump covered in a carpet of dirty white gulls and watching the waves of birds parting magically before your car?Back in the day, the dump was a sort of special place. You’d take your trash and garbage to the dump Saturday. Everyone else in town would be doing the same thing. You’d socialize, and of course, you might selectively “pick” for items you might find a second home for.
Who can forget driving to the dump covered in a carpet of dirty white gulls and watching the waves of birds parting magically before your car?

Being from New York, this had not been my experience. New York City incinerated much waste, and the rest was trucked to landfills, or barged out to sea for dumping.
Manhattanites never saw the end result of their waste. When I got to Maine, I became curious about why grown adults would fixate over their dump days. So I tagged along to find out.

One of my acquaintances, Carl, had mentioned several times there had been a private dump at the old Island Hotel near Widows Cove Rocks. He was sure that it was full of old bottles and ceramics that could be sold to the Summer Complaints. Carl was convinced that it would be a great site to find old Poland Springs Water Moses bottles. These were eagerly collected.
The plan was to go and scout the property on Sunday afternoon. We took a rake, bucket, bags, and a shovel. The hotel had been abandoned in the Great Depression and burned for the insurance.
We knew much of value had been salvaged before the fire. Half the better houses in town had woodwork retrieved before the fire. The elevator motor was pulled out and used on the marine railway at Spinney’s boatyard. Because of this information, we wouldn’t bother with the site of the hotel itself. The real deal would be the old hotel’s private dump. Towns were not big on trash collection in those days.
Even with Carl’s hunches on the location, it took some time to locate the site. Our first solid lead was when I fell through some rotted planks into the half-filled cellar hole of an old building. This was it. The old cellar was full of trash. Everything: 1920’s electric fans, chamber pots, half-rotted medicine clubs, a Depression-era gutta-percha pessary, rusted cans, and bottles – all in about six inched of mud. On the way down, I had scraped my arm badly and torn my pants. But there I was so I might as well start handing up goodies. Most everything was broken. The process for dumping was to toss it in. The inconsiderate fools had never thought of the future value of late 19th-century medicine bottles, gin bottles, or Poland Springs bottles. However, we did come away with about two dozen intact pieces, including a 1911 clear Moses bottle.


On the way home, I started limping from a puncture wound in my foot. My share of the proceeds did not cover the tetanus shot, or the antibiotics the doctor put me on. My abiding memory of the event was of feeling the ground suddenly giving way under me and falling into the hole.
After that, I restricted myself to visits to the Town dump and left the flooded basement to Carl.

The Author Steps Out

Over the past months, I returned to the 1960s and ’70s for some good and not so great memories. I’ve always tried to keep within limits of what could have happened when I took a frolicking detour from what occurred. I cleaned things up. We were very profane. Trust me; stranger things happened than I wrote. Most of my peers of the Folkie Palace days have permanently departed, but out of regard for the few remaining, I have had to hold lots in reserve. All the individuals existed, and the nicknames used were theirs. They were a flashy lot that lived to party and create trouble. The backside of Beacon Hill was the place to do it too. Landmarks may still exist, but they gentrified the character out of the entire neighborhood. As one of my friends put it, “elites don’t join communities, they rip the guts out of them.”
Many not so beautiful things happened on Grove Street that would make this blog X rated if I included them. I decided that they were not needed, and wandered no farther than some R rated occurrences. As I’m writing this, some of those memories are kicking to be set free…get back in the cage, damn you! If my friends were alive to review the stories, they’d be getting the red pens out to include the salacious details.

We did use the Mass General Hospital ER as our roll down the hill medical facility. God bless the compassionate ones who saw us through STD’s broken knuckles, overdoses, colds, and suicide attempts. I feel the pain of the folks in billing who kept sending bills to the fictional addresses we always gave. Things were not so tightly screwed on then.

The Adventures in Coastal Living stories are based on actual events, but like the Folkie, stories events are the departure point. The Cap’n was portrayed pretty much as he was. He’d stand there, look at you, stuff his pipe full, light it, and slowly puff it alight, then poke the stem at you and tell you how it would be. He was an impressive figure who I roundly detested and admired. My first wife was a talented writer, and later in life, a loving mother and wife to someone else. It’s a shame that she died so young. We were not suited for each other.

If you haven’t read it elsewhere on my blog I can tell you now that I don’t like fairy tales. None of my stories start out with once upon a time, and they’re not the they lived happily ever after type either. I write sea stories. Sea stories start out with -” now listen this is no shit. I heard it from my buddy who was aboard the USS whozzix when it happened.” In other words a bit of a tall tale.

One final note: Psyche, well where ever you are loved, and I miss you.


Lou – who was Wes.

R.M.S. Servia – 1881

I’ve been interested in steam/sail transition vessels for years. Ships with steam Auxillary and later sail auxiliary revolutionized travel at sea. Oceanic travel was no longer at the mercy of the winds.
Servia has the distinction of three significant innovations in passenger travel: the first passenger liner built of steel, first liner built with electric lighting, and significantly improved accommodations for third-class passengers. Elegantly fitted out as she was, she lasted a bare year as the Cunard flagship. Servia failed to win the coveted trophy, the Blue Ribband, awarded to ships making record crossings of the Atlantic.

The Blue Ribband

Built-in 1881 by 1900, she was being sailed under bare poles, dependent on her steam engines. Servia was sent to the scrapers by 1910.


I have portrayed Servia as she might have looked on her first voyage to New York. Graceful, under a press of sail. Her modified barque rig is propelling Servia towards New York Harbor.
Framed by a shop built teak frame, Servia is primarily constructed of cherry with mixed media detail parts and paint. Servia itself is LOA (length overall) 18.75 inches (476.25 millimeters). The portrait framed is 29.25 inches wide (743 millimeters) and 12.5 inches ( 314.5 millimeters) tall.

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